I Found My Dog Sleeping With Tongue Out: Should I Worry?

sleeping dog in floor

Some pet owners get really worried when they see their dog sleeping with the tongue out, especially for the first time. This is a condition that is mostly seen in cats but apparently, it’s common with dogs too. There are many reasons why a dog’s tongue hangs out during sleep, it could be due to body temperature, hanging tongue syndrome, and many more.

The tongue is an important part of the mouth that we use in order to eat and drink well. And this is the same with dogs, but in addition, a dog’s tongue is used to help them regulate their body temperature and of course, to give out plenty of kisses.

Don’t worry too much if you see your dog sleeping with their tongue out, most of the time, it happens because they are too relaxed with the environment. Your dog’s tongue may even slip out more as they fall asleep deeply.


Why Dogs Are Sleeping With Tongue Out

To fully understand why your dog’s tongue sticks out while he or she is sleeping, let us discuss the possible reasons why it occurs.

Hanging tongue syndrome

This is a condition where your dog’s tongue hangs out all the time, although this isn’t something to be worried about. This usually happens to smaller types of dogs like bulldogs and pugs because of their size. The dog’s tongue sticks out because it’s typically not proportionate to the size of its mouth. However, you should still opt to have their tongue checked out by a vet since there are cases where the cause of hanging tongue syndrome is an overbite or underbite, as well as other dental problems.

One of the main concerns about this condition is that their tongue is always dry due to its extreme exposure. So make sure to always leave them with plenty of water as they might feel severe thirst due to tongue dryness. On the other note, check if their gums and tongue are swelling, bleeding, or cracking from time to time. You don’t have to worry about anything if the color of their gums and tongue stays the same. But in rare cases, discoloration takes place which could be an indication of infection.

Oftentimes, the infection is accompanied by an odd behavior that might be a sign of a serious health condition. If this happens, consult your vet immediately.


One of the reasons why your dog’s tongue hangs out while sleeping is because of their medicines. If your dog is undergoing a new medication, return to the vet as soon as possible to see if there are other drugs available for them that might not cause this kind of side effect.

Body Temperature

Compared to humans, when a dog’s temperature gets warm, they pant. This is their body’s way of cooling down and regulating temperature.  You will notice that when they are panting, their tongue often sticks out, panting and breathing deeply helps their body evaporate the steam, hence, resulting in a regulated temperature. Sometimes, due to exhaustion, they fall asleep while panting which leaves their tongue hanging out.


Oftentimes, a dog’s tongue is hanging out because of a very simple reason, they are just basically relaxed. Too relaxed that you will notice how deeply asleep they are as they show signs of being in a wonderful dream.

This usually happens when they just finished a good meal, played outdoor to their limits, or if they are sleeping next to their owner. This is a temporary tongue hanging out momentum for them and they will probably return to their normal sleeping face in no time.

Things To Consider

You might also want to ensure your dog’s health so if you notice that their tongue is hangout too frequently, consider the following reasons:

  • Mouth injury
  • Dental issues or problems
  • Oral cancer
  • Distorted dental placements


Dog’s Tongue Out With Heavy Breathing

Dogs can also stick out their tongue while they are awake, specifically while they are breathing deeply. This could happen every 30 minutes depending on their activities. You can do the following to check the cause of his panting and hanging out tongue:

  1. See if he had just participated in a fun activity outdoor. He probably played with your neighbor’s dog and had a great time running around the backyard.
  2. Check his temperature. Your dog’s temperature changes due to overexcitement or stress. Panting is their way of colling down.
  3. Your dog might experience dyspnea. This is a state where they could have difficulty in breathing.
  4. On contrary, they might also experience tachypnea, or by definition, rapid breathing.happy dog outdoor

The first two are generally safe and require no medical attention. However, if dyspnea and tachypnea occur, take them to the vet immediately.

They might be prescribed some medicines and you will be asked to limit their free movements in the meantime. But note that heavy breathing doesn’t usually indicate serious problems and it’s normal for dogs to stick their tongue out while breathing heavily.


How To Care For Dog’s Tongue

If your dog’s tongue is hanging out most of the time, there is a possibility that tongue dryness might occur. Fortunately, there are several ways for you to care for your dog’s tongue properly.

  1. You can apply a minimal amount of olive oil directly to their tongue to keep it moisturized. This is a safe method that you can do multiple times every day. It’s also a bonus that olive oil can help in aiding your dog’s dry skin and coating.
  2. Train your dog to drink water all the time. Water will lubricate their tongue and prevent it from becoming dry and cracked.
  3. If you have the time, make them frozen treats like unsalted chicken broth or you could just simply ask them to lick an ice cube.
  4. Some dogs are not avid fans of water, if you are having a hard time practicing your dog to drink plenty of fluids, you can use a dropper to directly lubricate their tongue.
  5. Consult their condition to the vet and see if surgery is needed to shorten their overly long tongue.

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